O'Neill's 11 stars set to shine in DWC Carnival
The winner of 38 Grade/Group 1 races, two editions of the Kentucky Derby (G1), five Breeders' Cup races, a Japan Cup Dirt (G1) and Godolphin Mile (G2) walked the shedrow and discussed the set - one that makes history as the first bona fide American string ever during the 10-week, $12.8 million international showcase.
Trainer Doug O'Neill has long been one of the pioneers of the collective American training colony and this year he is taking that to another level by sending 11 horses for the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
On Monday morning, the winner of 38 Grade/Group 1 races, two editions of the Kentucky Derby (G1), five Breeders' Cup races, a Japan Cup Dirt (G1) and Godolphin Mile (G2) walked the shedrow and discussed the set - one that makes history as the first bona fide American string ever during the 10-week, $12.8 million international showcase.
"Knock on wood - all have travelled well, we don't have any temps at all and they all have good appetites," said the trainer of 11 millionaires. "They look good and we're really happy about everything. Normally we bring one or two for World Cup, so it's so different with 11, but I like it.
"It took me a couple days, but I'm adapting well to the jet lag, just like the horses, and getting into a routine," O'Neill continued. "A lot of that is thanks to Frank Gabriel (Executive Director of Racing), John (Nicholas, Quarantine Manager) and Stephanie (Cooley, International Racing Liaison). They've really helped us have a smooth transition and we couldn't be happier."
Blitzkrieg (rated 110) leads the battle this week as one of three O'Neill and assistant Leandro Mora will start fresh off the plane on Thursday.
A winner of five from 15, the well-bred son of War Front has worked his way up in class and was an impressive winner of the San Francisco Mile (G3) at Golden Gate last April. He then was seventh on the dirt in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) over 2,000m before a seven-month layoff.
He returned last out in the 1,100m Joe Hernandez (G2) on turf, closing admirably to be fourth in a blanket finish astern Al Quoz Sprint hopeful Texas Wedge. He lines up in a highly competitive edition of the $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort (G2) over 1,400m on turf-a tough assignment, no doubt.
Prodigal Son (98) lines up in Thursday's $175,000 Dubai Dash (Listed) over 1,000m on turf and will have to run a straight course for the first time. Owned by Reddam Racing, one of O'Neill's long-time clients (and owner of Godolphin Mile winner Spring at Last), the son of Square Eddie comes in off two excellent performances in allowance company, including a victory last out (Dec. 29) over 1,110m on turf.
He closed his final 250m in 17.20 seconds, winning for the third time in 11 starts.
Parsimony (100) is a tall, well-built grey son of Dominus who has a lone victory from 20 starts, but has finished second seven times. He is the third of the Thursday triad and will look to double his win count in the $135,000 Jebel Ali Port over 2,000m.
O'NEILL'S 11 RUNNERS
* PRODIGAL SON
* FIGHT ON
* FORE LEFT
* WILDMAN JACK
* OCEAN FURY
* ONE FLEW SOUTH
* TRUCK SALESMAN
* I WILL NOT
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